Daily news roundups

Okugo named to MLS TOW, Union & USA bits, Qatar 2022 bribery allegations update, more

Photo: Courtesy of Debby von Winckelmann/Prost Amerika

Philadelphia Union

Amobi Okugo has been named to MLSsoccer.com’s Team of the Week. Cristian Maidana and Conor Casey received honorable mentions. At Goal.com, Okugo and Casey received honorable mentions.

In the latest power rankings, the Union move up two spots to No. 15 at Soccer America. At SI, they climb one spot to No. 16. At ESPN, the Union are at No. 17.

At MLSsoccer.com, Dave Zeitlin has a piece on Fred getting his first minutes of 2014 in Saturday’s win over Chivas USA. The 34-year-old Brazilian, nicknamed “Grandpa” by his teammates, says, “Before the game, I was so excited to play. I felt like I was 20 years old…When I started playing, the football flowed in and I’m very happy. They call me grandpa, but I felt great today on the field and I think I can help Philadelphia get to the top.”

Looking ahead to Saturday’s home game against Vancouver, Dave Zeitlin notes the Union “still has to prove something to its fans by doing something it hasn’t done since the second week of the season: win at home.” He continues, “Despite always talking about how they want to make PPL Park a fortress, the Union sport an unsightly 1-3-2 home record…Can they finally back up that talk by winning their last league home game until mid-July? If they do, it would certainly give fans some optimism heading into the three-week World Cup break.”

Brotherly Game has game-changers from Saturday night’s win.

PPL Park hosts Greece vs. Nigeria tonight at 7 pm (beIN Sports, beIN Sports Play). Here’s a preview of the game.

It’s a busy week at PPL Park, with two international friendlies and a Union game following a weekend of college rugby. At the Union website, Kerith Gabriel talks to PPL Park groundskeeper John Torres about the work involved in keeping the pitch in shape. Here’s an interesting quote from Torres:

I think a lot of people have misperceptions on, say, the collegiate rugby tournament  that we have or even football. Those matches, those games, they don’t really do too much damage. It’s really the sports like lacrosse and soccer that are mainly focused down the middle of the field that give the most wear and tear. So, really, those matches are the easiest to plan for because I know where the wear is going to be. It’s going to be down the middle and then in the goal mouths. So, it’s really these stretches of soccer games that are pretty hard to maintain.

Like I said, interesting. Nevertheless, I don’t think I’m alone in saying playing American football at PPL Park is still something that should be avoided.

Local

WFMZ has a report on Reading United’s strong opening to the 2014 season.

Paige Lombard has joined the Penn women’s team from the University of Miami.

MLS

NYCFC sporting director Claudio Reyna says of the signing of David Villa,

It was very important that we had the right person, the right character to be the right launching pad on the field. David is the perfect person. He’s humble, he’s hard-working. He’s very committed to this. He had many opportunities and options. He is very, very excited about being one of the leaders of this team.

When you have three designated players, you have to make sure they are the right ones on and off the field and David just ticked all the boxes. We always wanted to sign a player who can score goals, create goals, lead the line up front, be a leader.

Reyna also said Villa will go on loan to an undisclosed team that is not Manchester City before the start of the 2015 MLS season.

Frank Lampard, who has also been linked to NYCFC, officially announced on Monday that he is leaving Chelsea. “Whatever the next challenge is for me I will always be amongst you and have Chelsea in my heart.”

Montreal Impact have acquired defender Mamadou “Futty” Danso from the Portland Timbers in return for a second round pick in the 2015 SuperDraft.

Could David Beckham be a player/owner for his Miami franchise if a stadium is ever built?

US

The New York Times says, “Jurgen Klinsmann gambles on Michael Bradley’s scoring prowess for U.S. Soccer.”

At ASN, Brian Sciaretta has a profile piece on “automatic starter for the Stars and Stripes” Fabian Johnson. Johnson says, “I think it’s always better when you have a role and you can focus on that. I think I’ve got my position now. I think I am going to play at right back. I can focus on that. I think I’m going to play there in the future. I’m used to it.”

Klinsmann joked after the Sunday’s game about Johnson’s opening goal, “In his celebration, you could see that he’s not an experienced goal scorer.” More postgame quotes at US Soccer.com.

ASN also has 11 takes on Sunday’s win over Turkey.

Ghana, the team the US will open World Cup group play against on June 16, released its 23-player roster on Monday. SI has a look at the roster.

The match against Ghana will take place in the Amazonian city of Manaus, whose mayor, Arthur Virgilio Neto, says his city is ready for the World Cup. He said of what to expect in terms of playing conditions, “The humidity will affect. Yes, yes, yes. The humidity affects if you go without preparing to adapt yourself. I would prepare for the humidity more than the heat. To prepare you must train in Manaus or in another state of Brazil, or even in Miami as the English team is doing. Manaus presents similar conditions.”

SI’s series on the 10 most important goals in US Soccer history concludes with Paul Caligiuri’s goal against Trinidad & Tobago in 1989 that ensured the US would qualify for the 1990 World Cup. Not only is “The Shot Heard ‘Round The World” an important goal, it’s also a pretty sweet goal.

Rancid drummer and Real Salt Lake supporter Branden Steineckert has penned an “anthem” for the US. It’s actually not bad at all:

At Soccerly, Simon Evans writes of the prospect of a re-vote for the hosting rights for the 2022 World Cup following the Sunday Times report detailing widespread bribery to the tune of $5 million,

Don’t expect U.S. Soccer to start campaigning publicly for a re-vote – that could be counter-productive in the world of FIFA politics – but if FIFA’s members decide that enough evidence exists for the vote to be taken again, Sunil Gulati will surely be weighing up the chances to get the tournament back in the States.

The USWNT roster for the pair of friendlies against France on June 14 and June 19 has been released and Alex Morgan is getting her first call-up since last November’s ankle injury. Whether Morgan will actually play will be determined “pending an evaluation by the team’s medical and performance staff of her progression toward international play.” I still don’t understand why the USWNT is playing two friendlies during the World Cup.

Elsewhere

The Guardian reports,

FIFA’s chief ethics investigator will not consider millions of documents underpinning a new wave of corruption allegations surrounding the award of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

Michael Garcia promised to complete his work by next week, but his decision not to examine the documents obtained by the Sunday Times could undermine faith in his investigation at a crucial time.

It is understood that Garcia has not asked for the documents, said by the newspaper to number hundreds of millions of files including emails and accounts linked to the Qatari former FIFA vice-president Mohamed bin Hammam.

Those familiar with the cache say it would be impractical for him to examine them before his new deadline, days before the 2014 tournament begins in Brazil on 12 June.

Garcia, a former US Attorney, who began his investigation into allegations of corruption a year ago, has promised to complete the interviewing of witnesses and gathering of evidence by June 9 with a report to be submitted “approximately six weeks thereafter.”

  1. The Daily Telegraph reports, “The UEFA president Michel Platini has admitted holding a secret meeting with the disgraced football official Mohamed Bin Hammam, shortly before voting for Qatar.”

Agence Presse France reports, “UEFA president Michel Platini on Tuesday attacked a British newspaper for seeking to ‘tarnish’ his reputation by drawing him into corruption claims against the Qatar World Cup bid.” Platini says, “I’m no longer astonished by the spreading of unfounded rumors aimed at tarnishing my image at an important moment for the future of football. Nothing surprises me any longer.” Platini says that at the meeting Bin Hammam urged him to run against Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency. “I find it incredible that talks with a FIFA executive committee member colleague at the time can be transformed into a state conspiracy.”

5 Comments

  1. congratulations to Carlos Valdes for making the 23-man squad for Colombia!

  2. Former Season Ticket Holder says:

    OK Valdes made the W.C. team can he come back and play for the Union now!

    • If he plays well he will be sold to a European club. If he fails to impress then he may return to the Zolos.

      • Former Season Ticket Holder says:

        Excellent point, I wonder which scenario would be more beneficial to the Union.

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